Sunday, September 14, 2008

Iain Dale: Lie Down in a Darkened and WiFi Free Room


Iain Dale asserts that Number 10 leaked names of dissidents and wonders why. But I think there are far too many assumptions in the coverage from Tory and indeed the less critically thinking MSM boys and girls.

Leaving aside where and how the information came out for now - save to say that Iain's assertion seems a bit strong to this witness - can Iain please tell his readers:

(a) Whether the requests - to get nomination slips - are actually being granted?

(b) Whether the relevant paras in the rule book actually apply when the party is in government?

(c) Whether, if they do, we're getting anywhere near the needed number to mean anything?

and

(d) Whether if they reach the level to mean something this causes a leadership election to take place, or if not what they would cause?

and

(e) How that thing they might cause would probably work out given the 100 year history of the party.

Although it may seem pretty unfashionable I believe that if a leadership election were triggered and if GB decided to stand he might well see these creatures off.

And I believe he will still be leader and PM in a year and lead Labour into the GE AND that there is a good chance of success, and not just in terms of avoiding the currently favoured prediction.

I think the betting has the Tories with an overall majority of around 40 seats just now.

And this is not the usual Chris Paul tank production propaganda in the eye of a storm. I made the same predictions several weeks ago for an outing in the print media that is I think only just published.

Assuming the editor didn't redact it for the sake of my reputation! Interesting isn't it that Tories who have been affecting a strong desire to see Gordon stay on "to the death", to coin a phrase, are now egging these nutters on. Tories have wanted a leadership contest all along. Now they are admitting it.

UPDATE 01:16: Why would McDonagh write to her boss for a nomination slip? That's not in the rules is it?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I can answer most of your questions

(a) Whether the requests - to get nomination slips - are actually being granted?

It would seem that at the moment the answer is no

(b) Whether the relevant paras in the rule book actually apply when the party is in government?

Yes. They apply every single year whether in government or opposition. The current Leader does not have to be nominated and carries on in office if insufficient nominations are received to trigger a contest. The rules for what amounts to 'sufficient' do change in government.

(c) Whether, if they do, we're getting anywhere near the needed number to mean anything?

No. Nowhere near. 70 publicly declared name will be needed. That's 70 names for each candidate. So the rebels will have to coalesce around one contender and that contender will have to be willing for his/her name to go forward.

This seems to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation. No plausible candidate is going to put their head above the trenches unless they can be assured of at least 70 names and the rebels are probably not going to be anywhere near enough in numbers without a credible candidate to group around.

(d) Whether if they reach the level to mean something this causes a leadership election to take place, or if not what they would cause?

The first bit is answered above in (c). The second bit is the great unknown. He could be seen to fight them off and come out stronger or he might end up fatally wounded. I suspect that's what the rebels want, knowing that they'll never reach 70 signatures.

tory boys never grow up said...

This all looks like froth and nonsense to me - if GB doesn't resign - then the Rule Book says that nominations (accepted by the Nominee) have to be given to the General Secretary at least two weeks before a session of Annual Conference. So unless GB agrees there is no leadership election until next year. It is interesting that all this nonsense noise starts just within the two weeks before the closing session of Conference - it is also amazing how none of the Press or Dale both to read the Rule Book before pontificating on what its says.

The Lakelander said...

I find myself in agreement with Anon 1.54 and (strangely) TBNGU.

I don't believe that anyone with the ambition to be party leader would put their head above the parapet just now or indeed, this side of a General Election that even you must agree is likely to result in a Conservative victory.

So if it's not a proper attempt to change the party leader, what is going on?

It's all a bit reminiscent of the last months of John Major's government.

Chris Paul said...

TBNGU understands the bit that the media and Dale do not. The 14 day deadline to submit a motion for a leadership conference has passed for this year. If it had not and the requisite action had been taken then there would be a conference vote. The status quo might well win that i.e. no leadership election.

It is hard to imagine the NEC recommendation and the CAC machinations and the platform line allowing any other outcome.

Anon 01:54 is I think conflating two mechanisms. 45/70 Commons PLP members can trigger a contest at any time when there is respectively a vacancy/no vacancy.

But the rule on nominations to conference may not apply when there is a Labour government. Rules are a bit obtuse but that would be my understanding.

I'm not sure any letters or requests would really be needed for the 70+ names putsch with no vacancy.

But forms would be needed for the conference trigger for which the window of opportunity has already passed.

Overall, a great conflation of nonsense and lower ranks egos in the PLP, MSM and Tory blogosphere.

Way back in 2005 my CLP sent me as delegate to Brighton with a "nomination papers must be issued" resolution. When in opposition this is I think supposed to happen every year well ahead of conference.

It was a kind of Blair must go resolution with a 12 month fuse. It was given the disingenuous title "membership numbers" and ruled "not contemporary". And yours truly was marked out of the game for any platform action in any debate, lest I raised this technically defective matter.

I did get on the platform on the last morning to call in much bedragglement and not a little horror for Walter Wolfgang to be given an invite to address conference by way of an apology.

This "reference back" proposal was sadly not carried. WW is nothing to be scared of, and following my suggestion would have benefitted the party enormously IMO.

I haven't re-checked the rule book but I repeat that this whole thing is nonsense and Nick Robinson is actually right. This does not presage a leadership challenge.

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Tory Boy. I suspect he doesn't realise that he agrees with me.

Having listened closely to protagonists on all sides of this fiasco, it seems clear that the dissidents have no chance of actually triggering a leadership election.

Just suppose that nomination papers do get issued. What will the rebels do then? Fill in the name of a credible candidate that doesn't want to stand (or isn't prepared to say that they do)? The alternative would be to nominate some sort of stalking donkey - a numpty who does want to stand but has no chance. Of course, there's always the possibility that things have got so bad by then that the idiot wins. Prime Minister Graham Stringer - imagine that.

This exercise is about attempting to hole Brown below the water line. It is to trigger not an election but a resignation or a 'satnding down in the greater good of the party and the nation'.

In that, it probably has more in common with the last days of Thatcher rather then Major. Although the comparisons to Major are inevitable - misguided and useless PM takes over from misguided but strong PM.

Anonymous said...

These rebels are idiots and morons. All they are doing is helping tories.
They are manily attention seekers.

Dirty Euro: said...

As I have said before. To change the leader now is madness,. We have projected recession, projected rising unemployment, and a strong tory oppostition with hate filled right wing press. With a left wing press than do not stand up for the government, once they see you are not perfect. How would any new leader fair well under those conditions.
It is better to wait till after the recession and the euro and local elections then if need be change the leader. To change the leader before a recession make no sense.

Anonymous said...

Chris

Dirty Euro has said the R word again. Are you going to blame him for the next run on sterling? Do you think George Soros is paying him?

Serious question:
You say that these MPs are idiots and morons. At the next General Election would you advise people in their constituencies to vote for them?

Chris Paul said...

Technically we may have a recession, though given the "noise" in for example OECD figures I wouldn't bet the farm on it. And no I won't blame Dirty Euro for mentioning it. The OECD chap who most of the media ignored had it right. Small plus or minus growth measured in a couple of tenths of a percent is not the sea to drink. Compared to years of recession measured in a couple of whole percentage points and where we have been in the 70s, 80s and 90s this episode is minimal despite the backdrop. We have been spoilt by so much growth for so many years.

I do not say these MPs are idiots and morons. That was someone else. Some of them are not standing again, perhaps some of the others shouldn't. But I would always vote for them or their Labour PPC replacement myself if I were in their constituencies.

Some constituents may be pleased with their action. Though if they were to think it through it is not the greatest gift they might make to the party and movement.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Chris, the 'idiots and morons' question was directed at Dirty Euro.

In answer to your earlier point about nomination papers - apperently the rule says that in the run up to the annual conference nomination papers 'shall' be issued. They haven't been, nor have they been for several years. It seems that breaks the party's own rules.

So it probably is too late to trigger a routine election, but I don't think that anyone sees the outcome of all this as being a leadership election in which Gordon Brown is a candidate.

tory boys never grow up said...

"the rule says that in the run up to the annual conference nomination papers 'shall' be issued"

No it doesn't - it says nominations should be sought - which is not the same thing - although there are some who would like to read it that way.

I agree with Anon 10:16 that all this talk about nominations is nothing of the sort. The best way for GB to deal with it is for him to start behaving like a leader - and to take on the enemies that the Party and country now face. Vacuums such as Tory policy actaully collapse very quickly when breached.

Anonymous said...

No wonder you're in so much cack.

"Shall be sought" makes no sense whatsoever. "Can be sought" would be reasonable but "shall be sought" is a command.

I do have one further question that genuinely intrigues me.

Why did McDonagh have to be sacked from her goevernment post. She has absolutley no issue with party policy having not once in her entire parliamentary career having voted against 'the line'.

She hasn't even said that she would vote for another candidate than our great and glorious leader.

This seems to be an entirely internal party matter and yet a governemnt minister is aacked on the spot for seeming to take one dtep out of line.

Even more curious is the case of Joan Ryan. Not a government minsietr but a vice chair of the Labour Party. Why her dismissal? Is nobody allowed even the slightest dissent? Who appojnted her to that position - the leader, the party, party conference - and who therefore has the right to sack her?

benchilltory said...

its silly to suggest another change of leader,surely the time to judge Brown is after the next election.
however its fun watching it all implode

Chris Paul said...

Strictly speaking it is fun watching it all NOT implode BHT! But time will tell. Commentators are conflating a couple of mechanisms that can trigger a leadership election. A motley crew of back benchers, some ex Ministers (many many years ago), is having a go. At what exactly I'm not sure.

Gordon must stay at least until June 2009 and I think preferably right through to the General Election. Which is not to say I didn't want a proper contest, and not to say there aren't some problems right now, but these are policy and presentation problems and if we can reduce the play of personality and populism in these matters that would be a good thing.

This is not X Factor.

Anonymous said...

"This is not X Factor"

Quite true. There are one or two people on the X-Factor with talent.

Letters From A Tory said...

The Conservatives want Gordon to hang on, but only just.

Anonymous said...

It looks like they'll get their wish, because he'll hang on - but only just!

Mostly he'll hang on as those that want rid of him do so because they fear electoral meltdown. It's no surprise that many of the dissidents (eg Stringer) are in marginal constituencies.

However, they also realise that there'll also be massive pressure on for an early General Election with a second new leader. Exactly the thing you don't want when your party is going down the crapper.

So maybe the rebels want Brown to hang on, but only just.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it's X-factor.

The Great Hulking Moron has never played it any other way.

The unfortunate thing is that the audience has come to delight in his absolute absence of talent.

The Moron can't dance, sing, talk, smile or fart.

You'll have to bring back Michael Foot as the unity candidate. Maybe with that white stick and Dizzie the dog he'll be able to raise a laugh from the comrades.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it's X-factor.

The Great Hulking Moron has never played it any other way.

The unfortunate thing is that the audience has come to delight in his absolute absence of talent.

The Moron can't dance, sing, talk, smile or fart.

You'll have to bring back Michael Foot as the unity candidate. Maybe with that white stick and Dizzie the dog he'll be able to raise a laugh from the comrades.

Anonymous said...

Anon 17:44 and 17:45

What a wit - you are Jim Davidson and I claim my £5

Anonymous said...

The PM had a double first at uni, and has gone 11 years of consecutive economic growth. Plus he is state educated. No wonder the tories hate him.

Diablo said...

Anon 22.00
"The PM had a double first at uni, and has gone 11 years of consecutive economic growth. Plus he is state educated. No wonder the tories hate him."

I am a Tory, didn't go to university (out of choice), went to a ("bog-standard" state grammar school) and I don't hate Gordon Brown. But I do loathe the Labour Party and the damage that its policies and inept management of the economy has done to the future of our younger people.

Gordon Brown is just the focus of the current malaise - his inadequacies are the tip of an iceberg. The rest of this abysmal shower - and you appear to be one of them - are really the reason why we need to get you out of office.

Nothing personal.